EOUMB/Wiz Kids August Band Camp
Beginning the Music Training
This is the week we begin music
training for the beginners, and music teaching for the
experienced players who will have to train them.
There is a review of all they
learned last week about marching the grid.
Samples of each instrument
available are put on display to help the beginners learn them all
by name and think about what instruments they would like to play.
Ms Saez and Rael Cherry are setting up a Band uniform on a chair
for the newcomers to see what they will be wearing when they
After lunch, the lessons
continue. Ms Saez shows them the Drum Major's Mace and describes
how it is used to lead the band. Candidates for drum major will
be chosen by the end of summer camp, and each candidate will have
to make his or her own mace. Shortly after Band Camp ends, one or
more of the candidates will be chosen to lead the Band and
everyone gets to help choose the next leader of the Band.
Miriah, who started as a
"mascot" with the band when she was 2 years old,
learned to play the trumpet, as well as several other brass
instruments, and is now working on flag twirling, which she
demonstrates to the audience of beginners. She is also talented
as a Wiz Kid and this summer at Band Camp she learned to perform
both close-up and stage magic, juggle scarves and beanbags, walk
on stilts, and is teaching herself how to play a keyboard
instrument. You see why we call them all "Wiz Kids"!
After talking and listening about
each instrument separately for most of the afternoon, the
beginners were treated to a live music performance by all the
experienced Band members who were present and conducted by
alumnus Lloyd Tomlinson. You'll see their excitement and
enthusiasm in the video below.
As the audience cleared away all
the chairs and cleaned up the backyard before going home, the
Band members continued to serenade them with every song they all
knew together from years of being in the Band. It was surprising
for me to learn that most of the members playing had never
touched a musical instrument before joining the Band years ago.
It should inspire our beginners who have been learning new things
all summer long, to realize that with time and practice, they can
do anything they put their hearts into.
The morning was mostly review -
juggling, jump-roping, marching commands, etc. In the afternoon
the group gathered around and listened to different styles of
music including various styles of marching band music.
Then music notation was reviewed.
Many had first learned to read music by playing the xylophones,
but there were also beginners who would have to catch up with the
Finally the instruments were
brought out and students formed groups of teachers and beginners
to learn to first make a sound on their instruments, and then
turn the sounds into a musical scale as the first step towards
playing. Until the new instruments get here, many students are
learning to play just on mouthpieces or doubling up to share an
Following the good news that Band
Director Frederick Goode is on his way home from South Carolina
with a U-Haul trailer filled with instruments that some of these
new Band members are eagerly awaiting, Drum Major Rosenda's class
on music notation takes on new importance. Yesterday, many held a
band instrument in hand for the first time and there was some
sound coming out of most of them. But now how do we turn those
sounds into music?
On a shaded table under the
mosquito netting, the students are learning the answer to that
question, and later in the afternoon, will start applying the
music lesson to their various instruments. Wiz Kid Jayden was
voted "Principal" in charge of taking attendance and
assisting with other functions of the Band camp. You can see the
back of his head in the above photo, as he helps his younger
brother Joshua write down the music lesson notes. He recently
"discovered" that his instrument should be a baritone
horn, rather than the mellophone. This discovery and this
morning's lesson prompted him to look at music for the baritone
and suddenly realize that he could read and understand the music
for "America the Beautiful." We went to work under the
grapevine in the front yard teaching Jayden and his sister Stacia
(far right above) to play the first few notes of that music on
their baritone horns. Afterwards, they both celebrated by
discovering that the long awaited grapes hanging above their
heads were ripe for eating - one of the perks and rewards of
summer band camp! The news about the grapes spread fast, so
tomorrow I will take photos before the grapes all disappear.
Mr. Goode is back from South
Carolina with the Instruments provided by all those generous
friends of the EOUMB who donated to the Go Fund Me Instrument
Drive, as well as other friends who donated directly or provided
donations of time and services to make his trip possible. You can
read all about his adventures picking up the instruments HERE. In the above photo, Mr. Goode and Ms Saez show the
Band Members why and how they sterilize the instruments with
steam as a first step towards cleaning and polishing them. Anyone
who plays an instrument by mouth has to be very conscious about
keeping the instrument clean and sterile at all times.
After steam cleaning the first
mellophone (foreground), Mr. Goode reviews the steaming process
to get the students ready to choose an instrument and then clean
it under supervision.
Everyone wants to take a turn,
but those Band members who have done this before, like Rosenda,
go first so they can help supervise the beginners later.
Saied shows me how to tell a
mellophone (in the case) from a baritone (in his hand) just by
the size of the mouthpiece tube. The baritone uses a larger
diameter mouthpiece than a mellophone. It also has more tubing,
but the mouthpiece tube opening is the quick way to identify
Considering that brand new
mellophones on Amazon.com cost between $1,000 and $3,000 (like this mellophone), and the same with marching baritone horns (like this marching baritone), we got a great bargain. All the instruments have
smooth working valves and the Band members had fun trying out the
instruments by playing scales and familiar Band pieces once they
finished cleaning them.
We had a magic lesson review
(sponge magic), jumped ropes 100 times, some juggling review, and
now are ready for Band practice and it isn't even 11:00 AM yet!
Lesson one, how to sit at attention with an instrument in hand.
There are some new brass players
in the ranks, thanks to the donated instruments and some
beginners discovering that they can actually play them now.
Acting as assistant director,
Saied Beckford corrects the players' posture for the sitting
position. Step by step, they learn the rules for playing concert
Now the players are working in
sections, trying to master the concert scale for the instruments
they are playing. Above, Anna learns from Rael on the sousaphone.
L-R trumpets: Joshua, Jerimiah, Madison, Taylor (Mellophone)
Miriah works with the trumpet
section at getting them to "buzz" into the mouthpieces
to strengthen their embouchure facial muscles.
L-R: Naja, Lea, Rosenda
Rosenda is helping on two
instruments that are similar enough to group together for this
purpose. She and Naja are playing mellophones, and Lea is playing
the Alto Saxophone.
Saied helps three new baritone
players, (L-R) Noah, Jayden and Stacia. By the end of their
session they were ready to play the complete scale for the first
Percussionists don't have to
learn the scales, but they do have to master new and intricate
patterns for drumming. Above, Khamani teaches Jazmine a new drum
beat which she then has to imitate.
NOTE: Because we
are so close to reaching our GO FUND ME goal of $3,700 for buying the used
instruments shown HERE, we have extended the deadline a few more days! Thanks
to all who have donated so far and if you haven't already done
so, please give what you can. Every little bit helps and it is
most important that we reach our goal of $3,700 so no one will
have to go without an instrument. Mr. Goode is on his way back
from South Carolina and we will soon be able to show the
instruments he was able to purchase with the funds already raised